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The Indigenous flag flys half-mast at Deakin's Waurn Ponds Campus

17 January 2020

Aboriginal flags fly at half-mast to mark loss and destruction of Country during bushfires

On Tuesday, Deakin lowered our Aboriginal flags and they now fly at half-mast.

‘We did this at the request of the Institute of Koorie Education who advised that it is an articulation of mourning for the loss and destruction of Country during this terrible time, an appropriate acknowledgement of the depth of wounding, and a mark of greatest respect,’ said Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin.

Professor Martin Associate thanked Professor Gabrielle Fletcher, Director of the Institute of Koorie Education, for the following words.

Please know that Country moves beyond landscape, allotment, vista or wildlife as discrete components. It is also place, Ancestors, shadows, mist, warble, maps, vapour. It is Knowledge, Ways, Forms, Spirit, Healing – a fluid fixity that is a web of inter-connection that assembles, then re-assembles. A complex system of systems, where everything has its place to teach, feel, show, speak.

To lose Country, in this way, is a distinct, messy kind of grief. It is not just a loss of connection to these systems and to place, and so an ever-increasing slippage of understanding of who we are and how we fit. It is not just the loss of sentient, sapient Beings, and the torture of captive incineration when there is nowhere else. It is also a grief of guilt in our irresponsible helplessness – our sense of the abandonment of our cultural obligations to Care for Country. Without Country we are ungrounded and un-belonging. Without Country we are nothing. And without us, Country cannot Be.

On behalf of the Institute of Koorie Education, I thank Deakin sincerely for this support, and suggest that these lowered symbolic fabrics become the message sticks for urgent change.’

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